Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hello, Dharma Overground,

after dropping hints here and there, it's only proper to own up and claim that, after engaging in various practices to various degrees of intensity over the past few years, encouraged by the people here on the Overground and other good friends, the sense that the self is part of experience, or can be experienced, or can own experience, has completely gone away a couple of weeks ago, and so far has not returned.

It left behind nothing but a profound sense of relief, and clear knowledge of what is the case with regards to itself, so to speak.

Of course, in the spirit of the DhO, I'll keep this thread updated with any further developments - even if it should turn out that this realization did not hold up.

I don't want to write a long-winded account here, but I'll happily answer any questions.

Cheers!
Florian

P.S. in case you're wondering about the title: monkeymind was my login on the old DhO, and in some other places around the net.
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Paul S., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 196 Join Date: 8/16/10 Recent Posts
Nice!emoticon Can you explain what practice(s)/insight put the final nail in the coffin? What is your experience now, similar/same as AF?
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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Paul,

What practices/insights put the final nail in the coffin? I'm very tempted to say that I can't say this had anything to do with practice or insight - only that would be a bit coy.

So I'll say that after reading Ciaran's piece "The Thunder and the Sunshine" (linked in the initial "Hardcore Direct Pointing" post), I decided to have a good, hard, honest look, vipassana style, at what I considered my self, and when I was done with that, that was that. There was no fruition or anything, just a moment of embarrassment almost, and the kind of relief you get when it becomes pointless to keep telling an elaborate lie.

My experience now certainly is not that of an Actual Freedom from the Human Condition. There is the centerlessness, but there also arise and pass emotions and passions (without snagging on anything that could be "me", though). There is a huge array of habits whirring away, which seems a bit overwhelming at times: they are so autonomous, and while they don't have the power to entangle "me" any more, they are still doing their thing, which is often not particularly skilful and often outright harmful. Imagine a kitchen full of pots over-boiling. It's a funny situation actually, but it's also a massive mess, and sooner or later, someone will get scalded by the steam or spraying drops if left untended like that.

It was definitely worth all the effort (even if the effort was directed at something that wasn't there all along, and thus ultimately misguided).

Cheers,
Florian
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Nikolai ., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Congrats Florian!

So where do you think you will go from here?

:-)
Nick
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Andy R, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
Congratulations, Florian! Massive body rush of mudita happening here.

I too am curious where you go from here, and what practice looks like for you now. How does this change fit in in terms of your path/enlightenment models?
upa saka, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 16 Join Date: 11/14/10 Recent Posts
Hey florian, I am curious about your practice until this point, specifically where you felt you were on the mctb 4 path model.
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Brian Eleven, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 221 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Congratulations!!!!
I'd also be Very interested to hear what practices got you where you are today.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 3183 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Congratulations from me as well.

I had experiences where I felt I had done it, that everything was centerless and selfless and perceived where it was, about 25-30 times or so over some 6 years before I finally landed something that held up through the next A&P/Dark Night, which until that point would dash my dreams of having finished that thing up on the hard rocks of deep insight, so I hope that this thing you have done stands the test of time and careful attention.

Daniel
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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Thanks, Daniel.

I'm very curious how this will hold up as well. I've had a few stretches of the sense of being done in the past few months, only to have it go under again. I'll keep this thread updated of any developments or increased clarity, as promised.

Cheers,
Florian
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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
List of practices - ask, and I'll supply details:

  • formal noting practice: from 2007 onward
  • jhana practice - 2009 onward (initial coaching by Kenneth Folk)
  • divination (I-Ching) - 2008 onward
  • Repeating a meditation word throughout the day - 2009 onward
  • HAIETMOBA - 2010 onward
  • Magickal operation of "scrying the enochian aethyrs" - 2010/2011 onward
  • discussing the Dharma online - 2007 onward
  • Reading the Sutta Pitaka cover-to-cover - 2006 - 2010 (the four major Nikayas, some of the Khuddaka Nikaya)
  • Mindfulness of Death - 2009 onwards sporadically, in bursts of a few weeks at a time, inspired by Jed McKenna
  • Listening to talks / audio books - 2007 onward
  • 1-2 day self-led retreats - 2010 (three in total)


So my practice so far was a multi-tradition mix: mainly (Theravada) Buddhist, a fair portion of Western Mystery Tradition ("Magick"), a bit of Actualism.

My main online groups are the DhO and the loose group which gravitates around Alan Chapman and Duncan Barford's "Baptists Head" website.

Cheers,
Florian
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Brian Eleven, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 221 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for the list! I'm curious about the meditation word, I occasionally use Buddho on the breath if my concentration is weak.
This question may be a little broad, but I'm curious how jhana practice helps a yogi progress through the stages. I'm teacher less so I don't really know one jhana from another, so I'm wondering what I'm missing. Thanks in advance for answering, feel free to just point me to readings.
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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

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Hi Brian

Keeping a meditation word in mind throughout the day is mindfulness practice.

If you use a meditation word in formal meditation, you can use it as the object for concentration practice, in addition to keeping you reminded of what you're doing (which is basically what mindfulness is about).

If you wish to practice jhana, there's an entire section here on the DhO devoted to it and related subjects - Concentration - with lots of tips and good, detailed reports.

Cheers,
Florian
C C C, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Florian, I have a few questions, if you don't mind.

Which of the methods mentioned seemed more/less useful in achieving your new state? Do you believe it a matter of having certain teachers/methods for certain stages of awakening? Did you find any methods/teachers of no use at all?

Could you tell me if you had any luck with the whole enoch business of magick? In what direction? Money, relationships, work, power?

Jed McKenna (whoever he is - mystery man) writes about final awakening as a gut wrenching and terrifying process. Did you have any of that?

Thanks/
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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
C C C:
Which of the methods mentioned seemed more/less useful in achieving your new state? Do you believe it a matter of having certain teachers/methods for certain stages of awakening? Did you find any methods/teachers of no use at all?


Like I wrote, it's tempting to say that the methods don't really correspond with the result, but that would be oversimplifying things.

Those methods which kept me going, which kept me alert to the lack of clarity, which kept the intensity of my application to this process high, those were the useful methods.

Apart from a couple of weeks of jhana-coaching by Kenneth, when he originally appeared on the old DhO, I didn't work formally with any teachers (and Kenneth had not set himself up as a formal teacher back then). I had a few mail and chat conversations, mainly with Tarin and Duncan Barford, but also a few others.

I didn't list those methods which I found no use at all. emoticon

Could you tell me if you had any luck with the whole enoch business of magick? In what direction? Money, relationships, work, power?


Enochian Magick seems to be a huge topic - I only did the "aethyr scrying" operation: in the course of about 10 months, going from 30 to 1, like Crowley did in "The Vision and the Voice". It was also a very minimalistic rendering, more meditation than ceremony. My intention with this was that this operation should guide me through the "Anagami Fractal" by the shortest possible route. In that regard, it was successful. Improvements in my money/work situation coincided with the operation, now that you mention it, but that was the direct result of me changing jobs a year ago, before I started with this.

Magick tends to be content-heavy, so it's important not to get lost in the content. After each working, I spent a lot of time examining what had came up, in order to see it clearly for what it was, and gain insight from the frankly whacky results. I guess that's how many vajrayana practices work as well.

Jed McKenna (whoever he is - mystery man) writes about final awakening as a gut wrenching and terrifying process. Did you have any of that?/


I did have a few bad dark nights during the past few years; and they seemed to be getting worse toward the end, but this kind of stuff is hard to measure, of course. Like MCTB, Jed's books describe the process in a broad spectrum of detail. Not everyone who does Vipassana will experience every detail of the kind of dark night described in MCTB. Also, having been a dark-nighter for most of my life prior to stream entry (I'm convinced that I crossed the A&P pre-teen-age), there wasn't that much unexpected terror to be met any more.

Have you read all three of Jed's books?

Cheers,
Florian
C C C, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
I've read the first book - Darndest Thing, which I liked for its humour and flowing style. And will read the third - Spiritual Warfare - at some point. His way of writing really pulls you in bashes you around a bit, which is nice. But it was his writing, and some of Castaneda's (very similar), that made me decide awakening is not really what I want at the moment. It seems too big and too daunting. And the price of awakening... I'm not ready to pay that price, yet. I don't want to lose everything of myself just now, even if I was close to the cliff's edge (and I may well not be).

I do like Kenneth's description of how to access jhana. Only problem is i can't make it work. Jhana is my only real interest at the moment. And magick. I like reading Adyashanti - helps with my internal dialogue.
C C C, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Finished Warfare this weekend.

In the first chapter, Jed recounts his story of having his life threatened and having no fear, but instead a feeling of amusement and interest. I know it's (mostly) fiction but I've always suspected that a state of no-self would imply that the prospect of bodily death was no longer of any concern.

Do you fear death florian? If the cop in Jed's story threatened to point the gun at you and pull the trigger, what would you feel?
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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

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Hi C,

The constant, low-key fear of death / concern about death disappeared over a year ago, even before the event I associate with stream entry.

Apart from that, there's really no point in speculating how I'd react in fictitious situations. Talking in my head to people who aren't there about situations that are not happening has, really, lost all of its appeal and gripping fascination.

I was on a very high, long foot-bridge recently, and while I felt vertigo, I wasn't caught up in imagined scenarios of falling off. That's the closest I can offer to Jed's cop hunt at the moment.

BTW, in the last chapters if Warfare, Jed gives quite practical (for his standards) instructions for Mindfulness of Death. That alone makes the book worth reading. Death is that one clear glimpse of certain truth (with a T) most easily accessible to everybody. Funny how much time and effort is spent obscuring that clarity, or even outright denying it.

Cheers,
Florian
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Olyver Mith, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 143 Join Date: 6/10/11 Recent Posts
Did you feel very equanimous for a period of time before the insight?
How long was that going for before the final shift (weeks, months?)?
Did you experience many periods of enlonged cessations (nirodha samappati)?
If so, did you train yourself to do them or were they spontaneous?

Thanks in advance!
Oliver

Edit:
Another question, do you feel that you are able to identify with your emotions now and wield them in anyway?
Is identifying with the emotions like that easier now that you have the teflon mind (I'm asssuming you do)?
Do you think that having a (at least semi-)teflon mind is required before you can shift the identity to these feeling-emotions?
Any other thoughts on these last few questions?
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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

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Olyver Mith:
Did you feel very equanimous for a period of time before the insight?

I was cycling (still am), but in an unpleasant way; I felt stuck in the cycles. The equanimity bits of the cycles were equanimous, of course.

How long was that going for before the final shift (weeks, months?)?

The equanimity? weeks, max.

Did you experience many periods of enlonged cessations (nirodha samappati)?

No. I get jhanas and fruitions.

If so, did you train yourself to do them or were they spontaneous?

Thanks in advance!
Oliver

Edit:
Another question, do you feel that you are able to identify with your emotions now and wield them in anyway?

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "identifying with my emotions". They have their dynamics which make them emotions, just like a thought has its significance while it's being run through.

What do you mean by "wielding emotions"?

Is identifying with the emotions like that easier now that you have the teflon mind (I'm asssuming you do)?
Do you think that having a (at least semi-)teflon mind is required before you can shift the identity to these feeling-emotions?
Any other thoughts on these last few questions?


Are you referring to "I am my feelings and my feelings are me"? The sense of being, the feeling being? That's still there; if I understand it correctly, it's not about the sense of a separate self or self-reference (which is gone), but about the sense of being or existing which is quite strong and un-obscured, now that the weird perceptual contortionist habit of referring everything to the self is gone.

Cheers,
Florian
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Gerry T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 60 Join Date: 4/4/11 Recent Posts
Florian,
I am working on the jhanas and trying to sort out the first jhana using the breath as my object.
For a long time I've been focusing my attention entirely on the breath. But now I have started to include a calm feeling in my physical body once I get to a calm place with the breath. It's not "blissful" but it is calm.
Is this how you started your first jhana? How important do you think the "calmness" or "bliss" is to reaching the first jhana?

Gerry
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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Gerry,

Calmness and bliss are landmarks regarding Jhana. Using the analogy of walking to your favorite spot in the park, you get there by walking, by moving your legs, step by step (this corresponds to concentrating on the breath sensation, breath by breath). Approaching that quiet spot in the park, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind becomes prominent as the traffic noise dies down, and the air smells better than out on the street (calmness and bliss). You don't generate or manipulate the rustling and sweet smell - you don't get to your favourite spot by listening harder or vacuuming in the smell, but as you take step by step approaching your favorite place, these become stronger. They come with the place, they indicate its proximity, but they are not what you do to get there. To get there you walk (concentrate on the breath). Everything else has to happen on its own (calmness, bliss, and finally, entrance to jhana).

A few tips I found helpful to get into jhana:
  • Make a formal resolve, like "may Jhana arise", prior to sitting.
  • Switch the concentration object for one short sit per day. I used a kasina (cardboard disk stuck to the wall) for a few days, just in the morning, before hitting jhana for the first time.
  • Consiously relax with each in-breath and each out-breath, by imagining the body and limbs to feel heavy. Or imagine breath going in and out through the skin, or the eyes (very relaxing to the muscles controlling the eyeballs somehow).
  • Let the concentration balance on it's own, like letting go of a child learning to ride a bicycle (you keep running along, but don't grab the bike).


There are many great posts on jhana and concetration in the "concentration" section, for example, the sticky, All-purpose Jhana Thread by Ian And.

Start your own thread describing your experiences, and you'll be sure to get very specific advice from the collective experience of DhO meditators.

Cheers,
Florian
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Olyver Mith, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 143 Join Date: 6/10/11 Recent Posts
Yea, I was referring to "I am my feelings, my feelings are me" and thinking about some of my forays into that territory. I liked your answers, thank you very much. I can't say for sure that I understand "I am my feelings, my feelings are me" in exactly the way it's talked about all the time, but what I do is powerful and raises a lot of paradoxical resistances, because why would I ever not want to be joyous and open all the time? Basically to me it feels like I make the sense of Being the vehicle for happiness and harmlessness. I'll kinda sense it like it is vehicle and let the magnanimous feelings arise and it feels very stable, like I could ride it all the way until the end, so to speak. I asked if a teflon mind was related because whenever I first started to do this the teflon mind aspect became prominent. The whole thing is kinda hard to explain.

Thanks again!!!
Oliver
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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Oliver,

Basically to me it feels like I make the sense of Being the vehicle for happiness and harmlessness. I'll kinda sense it like it is vehicle and let the magnanimous feelings arise and it feels very stable, like I could ride it all the way until the end, so to speak.


That's how I understand (and practice) "cultivating felicitous feelings".

Cheers,
Florian
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boeuf f, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 60 Join Date: 2/4/10 Recent Posts
Congrats Florian! I'm very happy for you.

Could you say something about how you used divination, and in particular, the I-Ching, in relation to insight practice? Or if it wasn't in relation to vipassana, how it fit(s) into your path of practice? What sorts of questions did you ask? (Did you ask questions?) etc. If there's a thread here where you have already discussed this, please let me know. I haven't been so internet focused lately and haven't been around here much.

I'd also like to add my general thanks for the articulate inquiry, rigorous analysis, kind presence and basic sanity you bring to the discussions here. It's very inspiring.

Regards,
Bruno
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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

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boeuf f:
Could you say something about how you used divination, and in particular, the I-Ching, in relation to insight practice? Or if it wasn't in relation to vipassana, how it fit(s) into your path of practice? What sorts of questions did you ask? (Did you ask questions?) etc. If there's a thread here where you have already discussed this, please let me know. I haven't been so internet focused lately and haven't been around here much.


Hi Bruno

I found it useful when trying to locate myself on some map, when trying to make sense of some "what was that" experience. And when stuck (asking "what am I overlooking"), and sometimes in a general way ("show me what's important right now"), and so on. I never relied on it exclusively, it was one tool among many. Also, it was a lot of fun to research the subject; and I also collected the yarrow stalks myself, on walks around the country side where I live, and in the city where I work. I was drawn to it, resisting for a long time (many months) because I thought I'd be distracted, and also because I though divination more than a little goofy. Well, the goofiness turned out to be fun, and the disctraction didn't happen.

Since you asked: Old thread with a few thoughts on divination in it: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers.

How's your practice going?

Cheers,
Florian
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boeuf f, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

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Hi Florian,

Thanks for the reply and for the link--interesting thread. I've been consulting the I-Ching off and on (mostly off nowadays) for over 20 years--I don't really know what I think of it as a divination tool (though sometimes it can be a little eerie...), or what I think of "divination" but I like how it allows me to reflect on concerns and issues in my life from a different perspective. It never occurred to me to approach it in relation to insight--I guess because it seems so content oriented. Would like to know more about Tao-ist practice in general--so much secrecy in that world--or so it seems.

Practice is going well. Experienced cessation in May and keep meaning to update my practice thread here but have been pressed for time in my work/family life, so haven't gotten around to it. Your query reminds me I still intend to do that.

Regards,
Bruno
Daniel Thorson, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 5 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Florian,

Perhaps I'm missing something but I'd like to talk with you via private messaging. I can't find the link. Help!

-Daniel
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Florian Weps, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Monkey Mind squirmed in embarrassment for a moment...

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Daniel

I sent you a message.

The link to the direct message tool is up there, just below the "Dharma Overground" masthead, where it says "Messages".

Cheers,
Florian

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